Full-Time OSAP FAQs

How do I upload a document on the OSAP website?


  • A PDF file uploads best
  • Password protected files will not upload
  • The file must be smaller than 1mb. Need help? 4 Ways to Compress a PDF File
  • Blue and black ink scan the best
  • All documents must be scanned and uploaded separately
  • The Change Request form can be uploaded under ‘Application Update’

The first step is to scan the document:

To maintain the best possible document quality, use the following settings (or equivalent) during the scanning process:

  • Scan all documents as black and white (even colour documents)
  • Select the text option (as opposed to the picture option)
  • Use the smallest dpi (dots per inch) setting to create the file (normally 150 or 200 dpi)
  • Save the file as a PDF (.pdf)

The second step is to upload the document:

  • Click the ‘upload’ link on the OSAP website that corresponds to the document
  • Click the ‘browse’ button and locate your file with the scanned document
  • Select the file and click ‘open’
  • Receive a confirmation message once your document is accepted
  • Repeat the process for each required document

What is considered ‘full-time status’ as per OSAP?  

Your enrolment in Mosaic must match the course load percentage indicated on your OSAP application. If you applied for the fall and winter terms at a 100% course load in Humanities, you would need to enroll in 15 units in each term to receive your OSAP funding. Starting in mid-September, SFAS will review OSAP files where enrolment is incomplete and make the appropriate changes to the OSAP application (i.e. changes to course load percentage or study period start/end dates).

To be eligible for full-time OSAP, students must enroll in at least a 60% course load or a 40% course load if you are a student with a permanent disability. Instructions on how to calculate this percentage are available on the full-time OSAP page.

How do I calculate my course load percentage? 

When applying for OSAP you will be asked to fill in your course load percentage. Follow the three-step process below to calculate this percentage.

  1. Find your program in the Undergraduate Academic Calendar to find the number of units that make up a full course load for your year and program (in many cases it’s 30 units for the year).
  2. Divide that total by 2 to get the per-term amount (for example, 30/2 = 15 units per term).
  3. Divide the number or units you’re enrolled in by the number of required units per term to get your percentage (for example, if you’re in 12 units and the full course load is 15 units, 12/15 = .8, so you’d be taking an 80% course load).


Graduate students enrolled in a full-time program can enter a 100% course load on their OSAP application.

What is ‘net tuition’ and where can I view my out-of-pocket expenses?

Net tuition = Tuition fees (excluding supplementary fees) MINUS non-repayable grants and aid.
‘Net Tuition’ is the amount the student needs to pay out-of-pocket towards tuition.

McMaster offers a new Account Statement and a Tuition, Aid & Awards Summary screen that can be accessed through the Mosaic Student Center.

Do I have to re-direct my OSAP funding to McMaster?

Starting in Fall 2018, all OSAP funding will automatically be re-directed to McMaster to pay tuition and other student fees. Any funding left over will be deposited in the student’s personal bank account.

Apply for OSAP by June 30 to ensure you meet the McMaster fall fee deadline. If OSAP funding does not cover the full cost of a student’s tuition and fees, the student is responsible for any outstanding balance on their student account.

How do I apply for OSAP for one term when enrolled in graduate studies?

Most graduate programs are set up in the OSAP system with three-term assessments as students need to be enrolled and have fees assessed for all three terms. In the event that the student will not be attending university for all three terms, it is the student’s responsibility to inform Student Financial Aid & Scholarships by submitting a SFAS Change Request Form. Graduate students in an ‘out-of-time’ or ‘overtime’ status should be assessed for OSAP on a term-by-term basis to avoid a future OSAP overpayment. The SFAS Change Request Form should be submitted prior to the beginning of the term.

What if I didn’t receive sufficient OSAP?

A Student Loans and Awards Officer is available to review your submitted OSAP application with you. Check our Contacts page for counselling hours. No appointment is required. Please bring two pieces of government photo ID and your student ID card to discuss personal information.

Can I get OSAP funding for taking over a 100% course load?

Students must be enrolled in all courses by the add/drop date for that term for the ‘overload’ to be considered as part of the course load on their OSAP application. Students intending to complete an overload of courses and require extra funding can indicate a course load over 100% on their OSAP application. Course load is calculated per term. Dropping courses after receiving funding can lead to academic progress restrictions and overpayments. If in doubt, drop in for counselling with a Student Loans & Awards Officer for advice.

How do I make a change to my OSAP application after it is submitted?

After the OSAP application is submitted, students are not able to make a correction or change online.

There are two methods to making OSAP application changes: Students can complete the SFAS Change Request form (PDF) available on the SFAS website; or, print, complete and sign the respective page(s) from the OSAP paper application.  

Completed forms/pages should be uploaded via the OSAP website under the category of ‘Change to Your Application’. Please note that all application changes must be submitted this way. SFAS does not accept changes to the OSAP application via email.

Why is my OSAP confirmation of enrolment not completed?

There are a number of reasons for the confirmation of enrolment not being completed depending on the time of the year:

  1. It may be too early – confirmations of enrolment can be completed within 15 days prior to the study period start date
  2. It may be too late – confirmations of enrolment cannot be completed with less than five days remaining in the study period
  3. Your OSAP application may be incomplete
  4. Your enrolment in Mosaic may not equal the course load percentage you indicated on your OSAP application
  5. You may not be enrolled for all terms indicated on your OSAP application

Can I get OSAP for courses taken on a letter of permission (LOP)? 

If you are enrolled at McMaster and taking courses at another OSAP approved, Ontario institution, you can: 

  • Apply for OSAP at McMaster
  • Complete the Confirmation of Fees form with the other school’s Financial Aid Office
  • Submit the form to McMaster SFAS
  • Receive assessment from OSAP for all courses

** Courses at the other institution must have the same sessional start and end dates as McMaster to be considered. Online courses through Athabasca are not normally considered. Schools outside of Canada cannot be included on an OSAP application through Letter of Permission.

If you are enrolled at another school to gain credits towards a McMaster degree with no McMaster enrolment at that time, you can:

  • Apply for OSAP through the new institution

What is income verification (IVS)? 

Income Verification can impact the status of your OSAP. Completed IVS appeal forms can be mailed directly to the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) or dropped off at SFAS (Gilmour Hall, Room 120). All appeal processing is completed by the MAESD.

What is an OSAP academic progress warning or restriction? 

OSAP Academic Progress Warnings and Restrictions are different than academic probation for the University. An OSAP academic warning/restriction could be result of the following:

  • Not successfully completing a 60% course load or a 40% course load for students with permanent disabilities in each term
  • Dropping courses
  • Withdrawing from full-time studies
  • Switching programs of study
  • Switching educational institutions

The Academic Progress Summary Form is used to clear a warning, restriction or for the decision to be reconsidered based on exceptional circumstances. Upload or submit this form with your OSAP application.

How do I apply for OSAP for subsequent terms in an academic year? 

Students, studying or on a co-op work term, need to apply for OSAP for the upcoming academic year (fall, winter or fall/winter) by June 30. When a student wants to extend the study period end date to include a term within the same academic year, an OSAP Extension Form is completed and submitted to SFAS (Gilmour Hall, Room 120).

What is an overpayment?

Overpayments are the result of income verification, dropping courses, withdrawing from full-time studies or underestimating your income. With the first overpayment, a letter is sent to the student indicating a reassessment on the OSAP file. Upon a second overpayment, the student is required to repay a portion of the loan to the National Student Loans Service Centre before continuing with OSAP funding. SFAS requires a receipt or print out from the NSLSC website as proof of payment.

Do medicine students report their OMA stipend to OSAP? 

No. The Ontario Medical Association stipend will be updated on a student’s OSAP application by Student Financial Aid & Scholarships.

How do I apply for OSAP while on exchange?

Students should take action on the instructions and information regarding financial assistance and exchange (PDF) prior to departure. Students can apply for OSAP to receive funding for a term abroad. Students with previous OSAP can complete a Continuation of Interest-Free Status application for the exchange period. OSAP policies remain consistent for studies at McMaster or an international institution. Drop-in counselling is available to exchange students to discuss funding while on an exchange.

What’s New!


Course load calculator: Not sure about your course load percentage for OSAP? Check out our new guide on how to calculate it! Course load guide (non-Engineering). Engineering course load guide.

Scholarship applications are OPEN: Don’t miss out on this easy money! There are awards for all faculties and programs, all undergrad years and both academic AND community work. Apply in Mosaic by clicking the “Apply for Aid and Awards” tile. Find scholarships under the “Aid By Application” tab. More info on scholarships.  


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